Friday, February 29, 2008

I have found a whole cache of nature blogs that make me yearn (yeah, I said yearn) for more nature in my life. I want my house in the country.

The entries on my blogroll - Nina (, Weeping sore ( and add to that Kate ( offer some incredible images and quite a lot of enjoyable reading. They each have a wonderful blogroll to peruse as well.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What I Have Learned Today

1. It's very hard to eat a lettuce salad with a spoon.

This guy has shown up around here in the last week or so. I know Spring is around the corner.

(cue James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thang" and dance with wild abandonment here)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thoughts For Today

I am happy to be alive.
I am increasingly pleased each day with my children in all they do and are.
I am most thankful for my family who, even though we don't talk daily or even weekly, will always be there for each other in all the ways that matter.
I am not all that I would like to be but I am happy with what I am so far.
I am intrigued with so much the world has to offer and it's there for the learning if I can find the time to pursue it.

Ok,talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, February 25, 2008


I was happy to spend time with my GRAND-nephew this weekend. I can't believe those words are being spoken by me. We were gathered at my #2 niece's wedding shower here.

Sammy wasn't at all happy to be anywhere this weekend with his teeth-cutting. But he was still a wonder to me. And I didn't make him cry.
He blew me away when I watched him manipulating the shadows of his hands on the chair. He just stood there and played like that for 5 minutes. I suppose babies do this a lot but he is only 8 months old. And walking.
Alright, bragging is done.
#2 niece's shower went well. Lots of relatives and visiting. Wedding is next week. More photos then.
Mom was good, Dad was pretty good, brother, sister and other peripherals were equally good.
Weather was fab on Saturday. I actually walked 2 miles on the back roads in the morning and pruned the fruit trees, working up a sweat it was so warm.
The family BBQ'd out Saturday night and hung out. I couldn't stop falling asleep in the chair. They made fun of me which is normal.
We all ate out together Sunday in honor of #1 niece's B-day- Sammy's mom. Then J and I packed up and headed home, shopping along the way for wedding clothes for him. We hardly shop without E with us so we actually found stuff for J. He is gonna look downright handsome next weekend. E is in the wedding so J and I will be sitting together.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Yay! I took word verification off my blog.

Energizing Post Ahead (Or Now For Something Completely Different)

One quick note. We are out of school for more sleet and ice. No other comments are forthcoming about this continuing @$!*% phenomenon.

J has spent the night with the neighbor child. He most likely will be hung over from too little sleep, too many hours of Guitar Hero and Halo and too many pop-tarts.

He left his messy bedroom that I told him would be miraculously morphed into a clean, well-organized room when he spent 2 hours cleaning and purging with my help --yesterday. Obviously I was not paying attention to the fact he spent 4 hours on our computer and then ran outside when his posse came to collect him, played for hours with them and then at the last possible moment came in to ask if he could spend the night with Zech. I had already forgotten I wanted the job done by that time. Oh, well.

I have my things to gather this morning for my trip to my Mom's and really I can't leave until it melts a bit first. The sun is supposed to shine and if it does the main road over should be clear in a short time. Yay for blacktop!

I love these prints I bought for my dad's room. They are so cool and his room is depressing to me. He is a lover of dogs so I hoped he might see these hanging and get a small kick out of them.

I hope to heck it warms up because this is the trip for pruning my mom's fruit trees before they start to bud. I don't have enough long johns to stay out for too long in this cold, no matter what I'm doing.

My niece's wedding shower is this weekend too. Perhaps I should purchase a gift? (she said absent mindedly)

E is staying here in town this weekend instead of going with J and I since she has an academic meet and the Homecoming dance they had to postpone from last Friday night although it was announced the dance might not happen if we had more ice. Her grandparents here will be hosting her. Finally! Someone to treat her with the respect her exalted position demands.

I'll be back later.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One of the members on my blogroll, Lee- had this stolen by me. I thought it was thought-provolking.
Hope he doesn't mind...

After my call for stronger, less hypochondriac, rats Phil asked if I am in favour of additives or not.There is not an easy answer to that.
First a few ground rules. These are, naturally, from a chemist's perspective.
1. Don't whinge to me that your food is full of chemicals. My response is to ask you what part of your food is not made of chemicals? The term 'chemicals' has been stolen to be used for 'bad' chemicals - pesticides, preservatives etc. But it is misleading as everything is composed of chemicals. What else is there?
2. Similar for the term 'organic'. Excluding things like salt, all food is organic to a chemist. It is a term relating to compounds originating from plants and animals from long before pesticides came on the scene.Now, to additives proper.
These fall into two distinct categories
.1. New compounds that do not occur in nature. For example, BHT and BHA are added to oils to prevent oxidation and delay rancidity. Are they harmful in small amounts? What are the health effects of the oxidised components of rancid oil? Which is worse?Synthetic colours. Many are associated with hyperactivity in children but are invariably consumed in association with high sugar products. Which carries the baton for cause and effect? The colour? Or the sugar? Both? Neither? Margarine is a totally synthetic compound; should it be permitted for human consumption
2. Compounds that are present in nature.But not all additives are synthetic. Vanilla, Ascorbic Acid and Benzoic acid all occur in nature but are mass produced cheaply by synthetic processes for addition to food as flavouring, antioxidant/vitamin (C) and preservative respectively. Should nature identical compounds be added to food? If they occur in nature anyway can they be bad? Note that cyanides, strychnine and cocaine are also naturally occurring compounds. Sulphur dioxide is the most ubiquitous chemical added to our foods. Amongst many uses, it is the preservative present in sausages, dried fruits and wines. It is naturally present in volcanic gases and has been added to foods, by burning sulphur, since Roman times.Many food additives are plant extracts - carrageenan, for example, is a seaweed extract often used to stabilize ice-cream.My general view is that if the compounds are needed for the safety of the food, and if they are present at the minimum level for such safety, then they serve a useful function. They should not be present at excessive levels and should not be present if not serving a useful purpose. Sausages, for example, will not last 24hrs without sulphur dioxide.While I am not convinced that colours at their normally used levels are a problem I do not generally see the need for them at all. Their addition is aesthetic, not functional.Excessive levels of any compound (chemicals!) will kill you. Vitamin A is toxic. Salt will kill you. Excessive oxygen will kill you. Last year a lady died after drinking too much water. Apple pips contain cyanide. One apple core wont kill you but a guy died after eating a cup full of pips. Another man stir fried potato shoots. Dead.Too much of anything is bad for you. Moderation is good.But how much is too much? Good question.
So, my brief answer to the additive question is that in low amounts they are OK but be sensible about them. By and large they are there for a functional purpose.If someone is complaining about excess 'chemicals' in their food, it is always interesting to ask them if they take vitamin or mineral supplements. It is bizarre how often people who fear small amounts of highly studied additives in their food will consume mega doses of some herbal, mineral or vitamin preparation and assume that it is safe.On what evidence?

Comments, questions?

My brother always said something to this effect. He talked about everything having chemicals. Broccoli has chemicals that could kill you if your body wasn't designed to ingest them safely.
You assignment, if you choose it, is to create wonderfully fluffy, delicious golden pancakes from my family recipe. You may have to wait until this weekend to try them, however. I predict this is breakfast today for us. God, I hope I have an egg in the fridge.

Ma Greeny's Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
4 T butter melted (yes, you can use stick margerine in a pinch)

Mix dry ingredients well. You can substitute 1/4 cup whole wheat flour for 1/4 cup white flour if the kids aren't at home. Stir in the wet ingredients until just mixed. Have a hot griddle with melted butter ready and gently pour on pancakes. You know the rest.
My mom always requests a fried egg on top of her pancake with syrup. Gag.
I love real maple syrup or warmed blackberry jelly on mine.

Rise and Gripe

We have freezing rain here, people. I am pretty sure we will be out of school. Just sitting here drinking joe, waiting for the phone to ring with the news.
Wha- wait- uh-oh.. sleet and thunder. Geez, thunder sleet. I don't really know what the difference between sleet and thunder sleet is other than the obvious, but it sounds more ominous. The weathermen here like to use the term.
Ok, the call just came at 5:47 am.
5 of my friends and co-workers were heading to Oklahoma to a casino to gamble yesterday after school. Hard core. They were gambling we wouldn't have school today. Guess they made out ok. Wonder how they did financially?
Well, you must know, with all the belly aching I've done lately and you having concurred with me, that I am not very happy with the weather at this moment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Haircut and do no one but my kids got to see.
I like it when I have somewhere great to go after I get my hair cut since my stylist and good friend, does an amazing job. Looks like only bloggers who visit and and my pillow will get to see it.

Time for Idol- later people!
I have a few extra minutes to myself as our Valentine's Day parties are being held this afternoon since we missed having them last week due to the ice storm. I managed to beg pizza and a mini hershey bar from students not to mention a paper cut-out heart I taped to my sweater before I came to my quiet sanctuary and my computer.
Weathermen are calling for freezing rain tomorrow into Friday. I'll believe it when it happens although it might not hurt to stop by the store to stock up on the important things. After all, I'm out of vodka. I used it all in my fruit liquer. (Man, I added sugar to the fruit and vodka and I almost passed out from the fumes! I have to let it sit for at least 2 months. Dang it.)

Planning on making a quick trip this weekend over to visit my family before next weekend and my nieces wedding in the same place. The church is having a wedding shower for her so I need to be there. I haven't been over since Christmas. I haven't seen my grand nephew Sammy since then or my dad.
Ok, bell is ringing and I have a hair cut appointment. Aren't you glad I am rambling on about my boring life?

I am into watching American Idol and I have to say I was thinking very much everything Simon Cowell ended up saying about each of those boys. Freaky, I know. I am that cycnical.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Guess what? We have a half day of school this Friday because of professional development. Can you believe it? We just completed a whole week out of school but a certain amount of state madated professional development must be completed for each school year so...It really has no bearing on me other than the children get out early while I stay and look busy. The classroom teachers meet to work on classroom curriculum and the mess of testing coming up in spring. Since I pull out small groups or push into the classrooms, I'm not really part of the testing thinktank group. Thinking is not my forte- tanking, however, very much is. Heehee

Speaking of small group pull out, yesterday for my 3rd grade reading group of 4 boys, we read a story that introduced Hans Christian Andersen while highlighting his story "The Nightingale". The boys were entranced which doesn't happen very often. So I thought this would be a good time to delve into Hans Christian Andersen and his fairy tales. It makes me feel great to see an introduction to an author received so well. I remember reading "The Brave Tin Soldier" and feeling so sad.

Time for math. Gotta go.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Musings

Seems like, as with everyone else, weather is the talk of the blog.
Here's my two cents. So far this morning, it's rained hard, then soft, then hard again, the wind blew hard, the sun came out, the sun disappeared, now it's snowing. Sighhhh.

I braved it and went for a walk to collect a Sunday paper. I got rained on.

I feel the distinct and overwhelming urge to throw everything, and I mean everything I don't use into the trash and get rid of it. Purge urge. I am so tired of moving stuff to get to stuff. But I find myself saying "wait, you might use that sometime) -yup, I talk myself out of it.

The kids are with their daddy this weekend. Miss them/ Glad they are away.

I'm trying my hand at getting a week's worth of meals at least planned and perhaps some of those meals cooked and ready to go. I love coming home from work and not having to spend an hour getting a meal.

I am going back and forth on hating myself/ loving myself (out of sheer desperation) for my extra weight.
Inner dialogue-
"You look mahvelous. You have the body of a goddess and swing those hips, men will go mad. Work it baby, work it!"

"Oh. My. GAWD! Look at those thighs! You look like you have camel humps on your legs! And that behind. Looks like 2 Christmas hams duking it out when you walk (MMm, hammm). So are you willing to shell out money for larger clothes or do you want to look like a sausage?"

Anything sounding familiar?

Friday, February 15, 2008

After Coffee, Before My Moring Nap

Another day out of school. According to the administration, back roads which are quite hilly and shaded, are still relatively ice-covered.

Last night's dinner was festive. Slim joined us with flowers and a movie for E. E baked cookies for him and made baked chicken and homemade fries. J ate like a pig. At first, Slim was weirded out but he soon relaxed when he realized we weren't really into formal.

Since the kids were small, we've had a silly, fancy meal in which there are cloth napkins, tablecloth, candles, properly set table (no 3 forks or anything), dress clothes or at least Valentiny clothes and a special meal. We do it for fun and to put an end to monotony for an evening.
I remember once E decided to put on a pageant dress and "do her make-up". She was 5. She dressed J in dress clothes too, so he wouldn't be left out. He was 2. I wish I could whip out that picture to show you.

I've been making out my seed list this morning over java. It is rather extensive but the first draft always is. It all looks so good. It will take many days for me to wrestle it down to a manageable size and price.
I guess this weekend I will investigate some pricing on things like concrete blocks, pvc pipe, soil mixes and perlite. I already have a raised bed for my strawberries at my house but the soil is nasty. My plan is to expand that and replace the soil with a soiless mix that is lightweight and disease free, then plant with my three seasons in mind.
I need to make out my order for strawberry plants and the number of blackberry, raspberry and blueberry canes/bushes we will need at Andrea's. I was planning on putting in some blackberries at my house as well. Those thornless, seedless varieties are to die for! And I think I will order a drawf sour pie cherry tree. They tend to be relatively easy, disease and pest free.

Later I will post about the class my gardening buddy, Andrea and I took here:

AM was talking about Ken Follet and his new book she was reading. I just finished his book "The Eye of the Needle" which is about as old as I am. That's what happens when you live in a small town- the library has a limited supply of new books. The book was very good so I am a Ken Follet fan.

I Really Don't Have Much Going On This Morning

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish.
There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients: sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours.
Haggis somewhat resembles stuffed intestines (pig intestines otherwise known as chitterlings or the kokoretsi of traditional Greek cuisine), sausages and savoury puddings of which it is among the largest types. As the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique puts it, "Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour." (p592)
Most modern commercial haggis outside Scotland is prepared in a casing rather than an actual stomach. There are also meat-free recipes for vegetarians.
It is often asserted (e.g., on the packaging of MacSween's haggis) that the dish is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (Scots: swede, yellow turnip or rutabaga and potatoes; these are boiled and mashed separately) and a "dram" (ie. a glass of Scotch whisky). However, it might perhaps be more accurate to describe this as the traditional main course of a Burns supper, since on other occasions haggis may be eaten with other accompaniments. Whisky sauce (made from thickened stock and Scotch whisky) has recently been developed as an elegant addition.

Dang, I missed it!-

The Scottish Saint Andrew's Society of Springfield'sRobert Burns Supper
When: Saturday, January 12 2008
Venue: The Hawthorn Park Hotel, 2431 North Glenstone, Springfield, MO
Time: Cocktails/social hour begins at 6.00 pm, the program will begin at 6.45 pm and will last approximately 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
Cost: Tickets are $37.50 per person

The Burns Supper is an annual celebration in honor of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, and includes traditional Scottish food, music, dancing, bagpipes, kilts, and other forms of Scottish culture. A cash bar will be available for those wishing wine, beer or spirits with their meals. Haggis will be served. Formal/business or Scottish dress is requested, but not required.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Still Hangin' Out At Home

I would say I am a little stir crazy at this point. Still no school. But the melting began yesterday and will start up again as soon as the sun has cleared the trees. It is rather beautiful with icicles at least 10 inches long in some places. I'll get out and do some ice chopping on my driveway which is about 2 inches of smooth bone-breaking ice.

Happy Valentine's Day, people. I have managed to keep a huge bag of shrimp hidden for a loverly meal tonight for my kids. One of their favs is shrimp scampi. That's all. Nah, I'll fix something spinach or haggis. Then I'll pitch a package of Reeses peanut butter hearts at them and the evening is complete.

Later, folks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I stole this idea from Simon who posted a clip from his work place space.

I wouldn't say I have done much work from this space so we will go with calling this my one and only tech spot in the house. I have derived a lot of pleasure and information from this spot,however.

As you can see, it needs some clutter control. I don't care. I can find what I need when I need it. It gets dusted but nothing gets organized. If you notice the spelling dictionary, you can see it holds a place of prominence.

Ok, nothing else to report here (yawn).

Remember when I posted a photo of a bundle of sticks back before Christmas?

This is what I was making. The chair on the left will get fitted with a bottom cut from an old wooden strawberry box and the easel is done. I sent these to two loverly people near the nation's capital.

I needed to send something cool to set on the easel like a one of these collector's bird cards that once came inside boxes of baking soda near the turn of the last century.

Monday, February 11, 2008

School's Out for Icing!

Icing is happening just outside this door as I sit at my computer.
Guess I'll just have to read, bake and blog all day. Well, there is the cleaning to do. And the Valentine traditional meal to plan. Looks like I might be sharing my girl with Slim.

Long legged, big-footed, stretched-out armed boy is now jeaned, kakhied, shoed and shirted. Same with the youthful female in the house. Super human strength was required.

Valentines and baking shall be the main activity for today. I left those oh-so- tasty butter mint hearts here alone with 2 boys Saturday and well, I get what I deserve. Not much else but some crumbs. Apparently I wont have to give any to J and the boy who lives behind us.

Happy Monday, mute or otherwise.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I picked up my daughter after school today. My son was staying to do some ensemble practicing since contest for middle school is coming up.
I took my daughter home and then handed her off to her boyfriend's parents that were attending his basketball game out of town.
I went after my son about 6 pm at the band room. We transported his #1 choice of girl friends from the band room where she had been practicing, to the Y to wait for her mom. It was dark and it was on our way.
When she exited the car and we had started off, J said "Gosh I really like her". Even as I write this I am getting choked up. The emotion in his voice was so pure- not that he is pure, mind you. He has been so careful in his planning when it comes to Ali. He is trying in just the right ways although I haven't seen him in action at school. No telling what might happen there.

It's freaky to see my son growing up and opening up with emotions. I hoped he would be more open than any male in my life has ever been. It seems he is able to be open about feelings so there is hope.
And about males in my life- as I worried openly that he had 20 minutes before the dance started and I didn't have anything started for supper (I was waiting til he got home to make burgers for us) and what could he eat, he calmly replied a pb and j would suffice. I made that and a big glass of milk for him. He thanked me and we talked a bit while he stuffed his mouth full.

At this point I had a flashback or something similar to a time when my brother would come home from working in the field back in the late 70's and have like 20 minutes or something ungodly to get showered, changed and eat before he was out the door for a date. He always managed because my mom would get supper of some sort for him. Yeah, she doted to a certain degree.
That's what I did and the feelings I shared with J tonight were the very same shared by my mom and brother back then. Love and gratitude.

I don't what is going on with my spell check. It won't let me use it. So I apologize for my messiness.

Dressed To Chill

I took a day off, I took a day off! I know, I just had a five- day weekend a couple of weeks back with the snow we had.
But things are so piled up here with all the paperwork I need to do and the repairs and clutter not to mention the 6 books waiting to be started. Oh, no I don't. Then I won't get anything done. I have set aside time this afternoon to read only if I accomplish several things from my list. (Now I sound like my Grandmother).
My son and I made pink butter-mint hearts last night. I was trying out the recipe to see if it was any good and we scored! It's a step down in richness from the family recipe of cream cheese mints and much easier. We let them set up overnight and will decorate them today with powdered sugar icing piped on. He was into it and made plans which girlfriends he could give some to. Teehee. I'll be sending some to my mother.
I also made some pralines which I have been craving. Yummy. I am sitting here eating one as I type. Ooo, sticky. And where's my canned air...
I work with a woman who is from Louisianna. She gently instructed me they were called praw-lines by pure southern folks and one could tell just by the pronunciation of "pralines" if you were from the south or not. Guess there are other ways of telling as well. Iamnot, do you concur?

I'm off to make another cup or two of java so I can get jacked up good. I should be asleep by noon.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Seen It Before- Try It Again

I used it Tuesday before I voted. It helped make up my mind since I was a bit on the fence. Better than a dart and names on the board. I think.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Example of the growing pot we bought. Next on the list is the strawberry plant varieties. Checking those out with University of Missouri Fruit Experiement station down the road a piece.

The hoops you see are the bones of what is called a high tunnel greenhouse. We have more to investigate about those.

The picture on the left is showing it with no plastic cover during nice warm weather. The right photo is showing a shade cloth covering , my guess being most likely after the plastic is removed but before the plants can be subjected to direct sun- a hardening off.

High tunnel growing is extending the growing season well so instead of a small fruiting season, strawberries can be harvested for up to 6 months. If the hoops are covered with two layers of plastic and air is circulated between the two, it can help extend the growing season into very cool weather if the weather will cooperate as far as sunshine.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I Maybe Got Something

I am happy there are those of you who can entertain us daily with your posts.
I am not one of those people.
You will have to take up the slack for me.
I am one of those kind of people.
Sure wish I had witty comments to make my non-posting seem ok.

A few thing I do have or will have:
A sizeable tax refund
An ex who does my taxes in return for letting him borrow a kid to claim
A son who is in the throes of a growth spurt and downs a gallon of milk every two days in addition to large portions at meals
A daughter who may need some kind of remedy for stress and general malaise
A new outfit for the upcoming niece's wedding
A son who needs a new outfit for the upsoming niece's wedding
Nice raised beds of greens, green onions, beets, and the list goes on....
A new tower growing method for strawberry production

That will have to do for now. Check back.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Coming to know and understand one's self and what makes one tick is a reward of age.

For years, at least since age 19, I have looked at myself from outside me. By that, I mean I've viewed all my actions, thoughts and needs without taking into account who I really am and without any generosity towards myself.

I have been disgusted, berating my accomplishments, unsympathetic to any struggles, unforgiving to bad habits and generally holding myself up to an incredibly unnessesary template of "what I should be according to my family".
I suspect many people do this, especially women.

I am mostly over that way of treating myself and have become who I am with relatively complete acceptance. HooRAY! I feel better.
Even when I start to berate myself for something I wish I hadn't done or had done, it is so easy to remind myself to be nice and forgiving. It has come with age and a need to figure out myself, and approve.
I am trying to live the idea that I tell my children- You have to be your own best friend first.

Okay, so I was reading some interesting posts on a garden website. The ideas were striking cords in me which lead to the above cycle of thought.

Broad ideas of how gardens and nature can provide meditative and inner peace with viewing the wild, untouched and unmanicured side.
The act of gathering native seeds in a wild, unkempt field could be enriching. To walk in a dark forest setting can be unsettling and enjoyable at the same time. Imagination can go wild. The complexities of nature are fantastic and so close at hand. We can dabble in the very place our existence is derived from. And it's a magic place.

Ugh, I sound a bit over the top.
But I am a person who is out of her element when I am at my school job. I am not in my element when I am trying to manage the household by myself, which I ask for, I know I know. I won't shy away from doing pretty much the best I can in either place. It's my job and I accept it. I just derive little enjoyment and I am not inspired in the least. ( I am not unhappy with my job as a mom because out of everything in my life, that's the one place I feel rich but it is a task, fur sure)
Does that not sap spirit from a person? And cause a person to start losing interest in life because it takes so much energy? When a person's spirit is sapped, it makes the smallest jobs and common needs in life seem monumental. And one's brain feels like it's ready to spin out of
one's skull?

I need to be in an element I can derive peace and enrichment from. I have a great need because of who I am and how my brain works to find this place with peace. Now I have to find that job that will pay the bills but allows me peace.

I wound it up quicker than I wanted because I lost my train of thought. I just finshed with an hour long phone call from a friend and my daughter is waiting to finish her school paper. See?!